Viewing posts tagged christopher h bidmead

Apocalypse Below (or The Tractate Face-Off)

From Panic Moon, July 2011.  Edited, and with new material in a seprate coda.


This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end


At first, 'Frontios' seems like the odd one out amongst Christopher H. Bidmead’s Doctor Who scripts. Unlike 'Logopolis' and 'Castrovalva', it’s overtly political and doesn’t seem to be powered by any underlying scientific concept. Also, it has monsters in it.

Bidmead included monsters – reluctantly – at the insistence of John Nathan-Turner.  On reflection, this seems a dodgy call. Monsters from Bidmead were always going to be too concept-heavy to realise properly on screen. Sure enough, he comes up with giant woodlice that can disguise themselves as rocks until they unexpectedly uncurl… which was never gonna look good on the day.

Apparently finding the macabre more fascinating than he expected, Bidmead also included alien machines made with bits of corpses. This was very tuned in to the then-current turn towards biomechanics and ‘body horror’ in the fantasy genre, but it proved too horrific for Doctor Who to attempt on screen (though it livens up the novelisation ...

Things Fall Apart

Here's a round-up of my Timelash II on Season 18.  I was holding this (and some of the stuff about Seasons 19-21) back because I was going to rework it into something bigger, but that isn't happening (too much else to do), so...


The Leisure Hive

Bidmead's script tinkerings somewhat dilute the essential idea of a leisure planet in favour of wannabe-big-conceptual stuff... which is pretty dull and lumbering, if we're honest.

The planet fails to convince as a leisure resort, which kind of undercuts all the lengths they go to to stress that the whole race have become employees of a going concern. All that boardroom stuff where they discuss investments suddenly looks redundant. What's it there to contextualise?

The stylistic overhaul is huge, ambitious and largely successful. There's a new willingness to try stuff out. They're happy to go all dark and quiet during the scene where Timson is stalked by the West Lodge Foamasi. I particularly like the slow, melancholy opening.

Mind you, the seeds of the later-80s problems are already visible. The Doctor is now wearing a uniform, etc.

The politics is weird. The war was about... what ...

Camp Onion

It's coming up to Panic Moon time again. 

The July issue of the estimable print fanzine is now available for pre-order, here.


This time, Yours Truly has provided a piece on 'Frontios', in which I explain why I like it despite reading it as a reactionary parable, and a short sketch of a Marxist interpretation of 'Spearhead from Space', in which I attempt to tenuously connect the concepts of alienation and commodity fetishism to a story about killer shop-window dummies lead by an alien octopus.

This is what is known as 'a waste of a mediocre education'. 

But we have some laughs, don't we?

No?

Oh well.

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